Shanghai has a startlingly clear and visible difference between the old and the new - the Huangpu river. This ancient waterway separates the older side of town, Puxi, from the new development, Pudong. If you are on a luxury Asian vacation, you will probably be spending your nights in a luxury hotel in Shanghai's Pudong, while your days will be spent exploring Puxi's famous sights, sounds and feelings. There are the Yuyuan Gardens, the Bund and the French Concession, the Jade Buddha Temple and Tai Kang Road...how to fit it all into three days and nights?
Start with a relaxing base, like one of the most historic and most luxurious hotels in Shanghai, Shangri-La Pudong. With an award-winning combination of convenience, service and comfort, the hotel has all the basics of superb, unobtrusive service, luxurious surroundings and the creature comforts like home theatre systems, babysitting, laundry service and safe deposit box. However there aren't all the unnecessary add-ons in a luxury hotel in Shanghai that will only distract you from experiencing the real city! The Shangri-La chain will have two new hotels opening in Shanghai in 2010 also.
Another great choice for hotel accommodation in Shanghai is the Okura Garden Hotel. Its base is the historical former French Club, and the hotel retains gorgeous Art Deco decor from the 1920s. Mao Zhedong stayed here in the 1950s, and the walk he took in the gardens has formed the basis for the lush surroundings today, with the original path preserved. A lovely historic choice for a base hotel in Shanghai.
Then for the real sights! Day 1 should include a morning coffee on the Bund, from where it is only a short walk from your luxury hotel in Shanghai to East Nanjing Road, which is home to Renmin Square and the Shanghai Museum. Renmin Square is the landmark by which all directions are given in Shanghai - if your sense of direction is less than perfect, you would do well to familiarize yourself with it! It used to be part of Shanghai's horse racing course, and is now home to the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, the Shanghai City Hall and the People's Park. From the museum you can get a great view of the Bund from the Riverside cafe, and then get a great view of the entire city from Jinmao tower, which rises 88 floors above the ground. At night, New Heights is a great escape with exhilarating scenery.
On your second day in the city, emerge from your hotel room in Shanghai and head straight for Yuyuan Gardens, a centre of historic Chinese architecture (which will be quite busy later in the day!). Xintiandi is a great place for lunch, which you can follow with a taxi to Tai Kang Road. This is Shanghai's modern art centre and a cultural hub, which you can follow with refreshments at Vienna cafe, one of the most highly recommended in the area. The French Concession is nice and close from Tai Kang Road - the Paris of the East is the area where you had lunch at Xintiandi, and you can wander around taking in the rest of the gorgeous architecture, and shopping at small designer boutiques.
For your third day in Shanghai, the Jade Buddha temple is a great place to begin your journey away from your Shanghai luxury hotel room. If you arrive early you will beat the large crowds, and from here you can make your way to Xujiahui, where there are important historical Jesuit artifacts. For he evening of the third day, have some tickets to the acrobatics show at the Shanghai Theater booked, and finally collapse in your soft, comfortable bed at your luxury hotel in Shanghai!
Zhujiajiao and Tongli offer some excellent sights, only a short distance away from Shanghai...if you have the energy and the time!